At a time when some studio projects (ahem, New Year’s Eve) seem less about telling a good story than about cramming together as many celebs as possible, it’s surprising to hear of an actor getting cut because he was too famous for a film. But that’s what exactly happened to Tobey Maguire, if recent reports are to be believed.

Last year, Maguire nabbed the role of a writer in Ang Lee‘s literary adaptation Life of Pi. However, sources now indicate that Maguire’s performance simply wasn’t “working,” and that he’s since been replaced by the lower-profile Rafe Spall. Read more after the jump.

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The very busy David Fincher now has one less project on his plate. For over a year now, he’s been in the running to direct Cleopatra, starring Anglina Jolie. However, a new report indicates that talks have broken off.

It’s not the end of the line for the film, though, as Sony is now on the lookout for someone else to take over at the helm. Even with Fincher off, they’ve clearly got their hearts set on locking down a prestige filmmaker: Ang Lee is said to be among their candidates. More details after the jump.

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The year-end prestige movie season looks possibly even more competitive than usual this year, but Fox seems pretty confident they’ve got a four-quadrant hit in Life of Pi. Though the project suffered several stops and starts during its development process, it’s finally taken shape under the care of director Ang Lee, and the early buzz is that the results are eye-popping and crowd-pleasing. (As well as, Fox no doubt hopes, award-winning.)

The new trailer isn’t our first look at the film — we’ve already seen a brief clip and previewed certain scenes — but it gives us the best look yet at the epic scope and storybook feel of the movie. And so far, it seems the praise is entirely justified. Check out the video after the jump.

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It’s not like anyone needs another excuse to hit up Ridley Scott’s Prometheus this weekend, but in case you weren’t totally sold on Fox’s other big 3D summer releases, they’re sweetening the deal with a glimpse of one of this fall’s most intriguing films. The studio plans to unveil uncut clips from Ang Lee‘s literary adaptation Life of Pi before Prometheus, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, and Ice Age: Continental Drift, the better to show off Lee’s apparently masterful work with 3D. More details after the jump.

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As Paramount’s G.I. Joe: Retaliation heads into next spring and Universal’s Ted moves up into G.I. Joe‘s old date, Fox is making a few edits of their own to the upcoming release calendar. Ang Lee‘s Life of Pi has been shifted away from hyper-competitive late December to Thanksgiving weekend, while the Wedding Crashers quasi-reunion The Internship has landed on a summer 2013 date. Read more details after the jump.

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Thursday morning at CinemaCon, 20th Century Fox presented footage, clips and trailers from their upcoming 2012 line-up. Included in the reel was 10-15 minutes of Ang Lee‘s adaptation Life of Pi, an extended trailer for Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, new footage from Prometheus, clips from  Neighborhood Watch, and our first look at Taken 2. Per usual, I recorded a video blog after the presentation with Alex from FirstShowing and Frosty from Collider. We give our reactions to the footage without spoilers or in depth descriptions. Watch the video blog now embedded after the jump.

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First Look: Ang Lee’s ‘Life of Pi’

Life of Pi has taken its good sweet time journeying from the bookshelf to the box office. First published in 2001, Yann Martel‘s novel passed through the hands of M. Night Shyamalan, Alfonso Cuarón, and Jean-Pierre Jeunet before ultimately ending up with Ang Lee in 2009. A tricky adaptation process and budgetary woes helped keep the film in development hell a few years longer, but Lee struggled through and at long last, we finally have our first little peek at the new movie. Hit the jump for a still.

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‘Life of Pi’ Gets a New Release Date

Briefly: Now that Peter Jackson’s next film, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, has a firm release date of December 14, 2012, it is time for other studios to start reworking their December schedules to get out of the way of the Middle-Earth juggernaut. The first project to scramble out of the way is Life of Pi, Ang Lee‘s adaptation of Yann Martel‘s novel. Fox has just moved the film to December 21, 2012, which is still a pretty damn good date for the film.

The project has taken a long time to come together, with several directors trying to get the adaptation going. It is finally moving forward as Ang Lee was able to come up with a plan to make a 3D film that met with Fox’s approval. Suraj Sharma, a high schooler from Delhi and newcomer to acting, has been cast as the film’s title character Pi Patel — the teen who, after a shipwreck, is left floating in the middle of the sea in a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger, zebra, hyena and orangutan. Gerard Depardieu will play Chef, a pivotal character; Irrfan Khan (Slumdog Millionaire, Spider-Man) will play the adult Pi; and Adil Hussain will play Pi’s father. Bollywood star Tabu will play Pi’s mother. Tobey Maguire will play a journalist who interviews Pi about his experience. [THR]

Tobey Maguire has signed on to co-star in Ang Lee‘s big screen adaptation of Yann Martel‘s novel Life of Pi. Lee and Maguire previously worked together on The Ice Storm and Ride With the Devil.

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